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Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker

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avatar Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 01, 2011 09:50PM
I'm forwarding the note below from Brad Ferlinger, Park Ranger & lead investigator for an ongoing overdue hiker SAR in Kings Canyon National Park. Please read and, if you were in the area of the missing person's route, call the Incident Command whether you saw him or not. Negative information is as important as a positive sighting.

We'll keep you updated on status.

Thanks!

George Durkee
NPS Kings Canyon

****************************

I am a Park Ranger who is working on the SAR of John Williams, if you have any information that might help us locate him or if you were hiking in the same areas during the same time we would like to talk to you and find out any information you might have. You can call the SAR investigations office of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park at 559-565-3762. Thank you for your help.


Entry date: Sept. 17, 2011
Exit date: Sept. 23, 2011
Emergency date: Monday, noon, Sept. 26, 2011

Itinerary:
Over Bishop Pass.
1. CAMP: Dusy Basin.

Descend to LeConte Canyon.
South on John Muir Trail.
Cross Palisade Creek (always difficult).
Continue south along Middle Fork of Kings River.
2. CAMP: Simpson Meadow or
between Palisade Creek and Simpson Meadow.

Cross Middle Fork of Kings River at Simpson Meadow.
Continue south along Middle Fork of Kings River.
3. CAMP: Tehipite.

Head north and into Blue Canyon.
4. CAMP: Blue Canyon.

Cross-country north through Blue Canyon.
Exit Blue Canyon over Reinstein Pass.
5. CAMP: Martha Lake.

North down Goddard Canyon.
Then south on Jonh Muir Trail.
6. CAMP: Between junction with JMT &
the Evolution Creek crossing.

Cross Evolution Creek.
Continue south on JMT.
7. Camp: Evolution Lake.

Continue south over Muir Pass.
8. Camp: Either LeConte Canyon
or Dusy Basin.

Exit over Bishop Pass.

orange jacket (sometimes), blue backpack, gray tent.

Thanks again,
Brad







The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 02, 2011 09:36AM
Good news. John Williams walked out last night and is home and well. Many thanks to everyone for reading this post and helping.

Thanks!

George
NPS Sequoia Kings



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 02, 2011 02:05PM
That's great news to hear. Any explanation about the reason for the extra days in the wilderness?
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 02, 2011 04:45PM
Quote
plawrence
That's great news to hear. Any explanation about the reason for the extra days in the wilderness?

I will ask George and pass along what he says.



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 07:49AM
My guess is that he took extra days to get from Tehipite to Martha.
Underestimated the time it would take and difficulty.
The entire trip was easily 100 miles in 7 days.

The classic looking at map and overestimating how far can make it.
Esp. with xcountry involved.

Just speculating of course... but it happens a lot. (I do it all the time wink )

Glad it ended well.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 12:07PM
There were also several days of rain, bad weather during that time. Also the days are getting shorter which means less total hiking time
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 02:15PM
Yeah, that probably played a big factor now that I see the emergency exit date of 10 days.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 12:20PM
Quote
chick-on
The classic looking at map and overestimating how far can make it.

Done that before: "But it looked so easy on the map!"
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 05:03PM
You guys are all correct -- just got this from George, regarding what slowed down the lost hiker:

The very brief summary I got (and I'm not in the park) was John realized he was way behind schedule and exited Piute Creek to Piute Pass (instead of over Muir to Bishop Pass as originally planned). On the way he met a packer who recognized him and went out with him (less sure about that).

All of you familiar with the terrain know what an ambitious plan he had.

This sort of SAR is becoming much more common -- people choosing long gnarly routes beyond their ability to keep that kind of pace or negotiate the terrain. Many seem to happen in the fall with shorter hiking days as well as bad weather keeping people storm-bound. Not sure of total story with Williams, but all of the above is suggested by outcome and his abilities.

To John's credit, he had a date he planned to be out and a "come look for me" date where he thought he'd likely be in trouble if not out by then. He also had a specific itinerary left with a responsible party.

Incidentally, on a not very related side-note: we're now getting a number of 'attempts to locate' from relatives or spouses of people hiking with SPOTs. If they don't send their daily "OK" signal, the relative calls the park and asks us to look for the person. As has been posted here, The SPOT has a very high signal failure rate and doesn't tell you for sure if a signal has been successfully sent (not 100% sure of last....). Probably have a policy on this next year -- e.g. if agency has no reason to suspect someone's injured, we don't look for them merely at the request of spouse etc.

g.




The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 06:00PM
Thanks Bee.

It wouldn't surprise me if he got some bad advice or read some trip report of some
young buck doing the same loop in 5 days. 7 days is just pretty darn aggressive
for that loop imho. If I was giving the advice... it would have been 10 days for that trip
(and even then obviously he didn't even complete that).
SPOT blows imo. Just something to worry about... I'll leave it at that.

Again, glad nothing bad occurred.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 07:47PM
Quote
chick-on
SPOT blows imo. Just something to worry about... I'll leave it at that.

I gave my SPOT to TaZ, and he promptly destroyed it into little tiny pieces (it caused more worry than help, so TaZ used it to record tracks to his favorite feeding spots, until he accidentally ate the SPOT)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2011 07:48PM by Bee.
Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
October 04, 2011 07:51PM
Re George Durkee's comments about calls from spouses: Over on the JMT group at Yahoo. a number of us have bee trying very hard to get people (1) to read the directions on Spots more carefully to avoid failed OK's and (2) to tell their homebound folks that the failure of an OK is NOT good evidence of a problem. It seems from the feedback we get there that the most common cause of failure is

1) people turning off the Spot too soon - it will turn itself off after making three attempts at sending an OK. This redundancy is needed because the Spot can send a signal but the recieving satellite is too busy to receive it and because the system is one-way only the Spot on the ground doesn't know that the signals weren't received. The three transmissions are a necessary redundancy and require the Spot to be left on for 20 minutes or more

2) people not understanding how the flashing lights on the Spot indicate whether or not it has a "fix" on a location allowing it to transmit a message.

These things are NOT well explained on the materials you get when you take your Spot out of the box. They are on the findmespot.com website but not exactly prominently placed there. Looks like Spot is trying to make users believe that the system is idiot-proof and requires no care, but it definitely does require come care.
avatar Multi-Agency Search Suspended When Missing Hiker Reappears
October 05, 2011 09:53PM
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Multi-Agency Search Suspended When Missing Hiker Reappears

An extended search for a man overdue from a hike in Kings Canyon came to a conclusion on Saturday evening when he reappeared in Bishop, California. John Williams began his trip at the Bishop Pass trailhead on Saturday, September 17th, intending to conclude his hike on the following Friday. His planned itinerary included Simpson Meadow, Tehipite Valley, Crown Valley, Blue Canyon, and the John Muir Trail between Evolution Valley and LeConte Canyon. When he failed to return as planned, a search was begun. As of last Friday, the park had committed 45 people to the operation, which was supported by searchers from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, Tulare County Sheriff's Office, Kern County Sheriff's Office (China Lake Rescue Unit), San Mateo County Sheriff's Office (Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit), Inyo National Forest, and the California Rescue Dog Association. Although more than a week overdue, Williams was in good health.
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